Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 28, 2013 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 37 of 125

I By Dan Murphy rish kicker Kyle Brindza is a Detroit baseball fan. The Michigan native wanted to make that much clear — what with his Tigers streaking late into the postseason once again this fall — right after announcing his favorite all-time athlete: New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. Given Brindza's track record since he took over as Notre Dame's field goal kicker one game into the 2012 season, his mismatched allegiances should come as no surprise. in a game (five) and longest field goal (53 yards). He's made 31 of his 42 career kicks and missed only once in 12 attempts when called upon in the fourth quarter — that during the first minute of the period in a well-in-hand victory over Temple in September. "He just has that feeling that he's a clutch player for us, and he has been since he's been here," head coach Brian Kelly said following another game-flipping performance in a 37-34 win over Arizona State in October. That night was a typical one for Brin- The Closer Junior Kyle Brindza has delivered on big kicks under pressure throughout his Notre Dame career "Relating back to a pitcher, when you're a reliever you have a job. That's to go out and win the game for your team, and that's one of the biggest things I take into consideration," he said. "It's just that confidence." The junior's résumé may never reach the length of his legendary door-slamming hero, but he's started to stack up an impressive list of accomplishments under pressure. Not least among them is his ability to close games. A year and a half into his career, Brindza holds program records for the most field goals made (23) and points scored for a kicker (97) in a season. He also has tied the school records for field goals made dza. He missed his first attempt before redeeming himself with the record-tying 53-yarder in the second half. Then he followed with another successful kick to break a 27-27 tie with less than three minutes left in the game. Brindza bounced back from an early miss in his debut a year ago to hit a game winner with seven seconds left against Purdue. He has yet to miss with the game on the line, converting crucial late kicks in close wins against Michigan, Stanford, BYU and USC during the undefeated 2012 regular season. Steely nerves are as essential for a kicker as powerful leg, and Brindza has never been one to shy away from

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